Our new organic and Fair Trade Certified green tea from Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon) replaces our previous Ceylon green tea from the Idulgashinna Estate. Now sourced from the Thotalagala Estate, this tea has a slightly larger and darker leaf that is folded and gently twisted. Located high above the plains of southeast Sri Lanka in Uva and balanced on the edge of the Haputale escarpment, Thotalagala was founded 145 years ago.
This new Organic Ceylon Green Tea has long dark-green leaves that give way to a golden-colored liquor, with an aroma of apricot notes that intensify as the liquor cools. In the cup, the brew has a medium body with moderate astringency, that is not strongly vegetal. Instead, the cup offers notes of stone fruit with a puckery, dry finish.
Ingredients: organic Sri Lankan green tea
Serving Size: two teaspoons per 8 oz cup of water
Posted by McKinley L. on 7th Feb 2017
The tea definitely has the "puckery" quality identified in the description, which is kind of cool. But beyond that, it doesn't do much for me. It's not bad, nor is it bland per se, but rather just sort of unremarkable. It's not really smokey or grassy or buttery like many Chinese greens that I've tried, nor is it too Darjeeling-like or rich in the same way that other Indian greens I've had. Other than the pleasant pucker, it's got some mild fruitiness and a light shade of the straw-like notes that I've picked up from some Chinese sencha-style teas that I've had.
I found that a first steep of much longer than 60 - 90 seconds produced too much astringency for me. So I aimed for 45 - 60 seconds for the first cup. The second cup was more forgiving, though, and would be fine if left steeping for a couple of minutes.
We at Arbor Teas firmly believe that tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. With that being said, here are some recommendations to get you started, but please remember you can make adjustments based on your own personal taste.
There are three main considerations when brewing tea: quantity of tea, water temperature and steeping time.
Quantity of tea: two teaspoons per 8 oz cup of water
Water temperature: use water that has been heated until bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pot (180° F)
Steeping time: 2-3 minutes
Tip #1: Use fresh water whenever possible - water that has been sitting in your kettle overnight may impart a flat or stale taste to your tea. Be careful not to boil your water for too long. Over boiled water can sometimes impart an unwanted taste.
Tip #2: Keep in mind that brewing your tea for too long can extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves, so steeping time matters! For a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea.
Learn more from our How To Guides on how to brew loose leaf tea, how to make iced tea, and how to make tea lattes. And don’t forget to check out our Eco-Brewing Tips, too!
There are five significant components found in all tea from the plant camellia sinensis: essential oils, which are the source of tea’s delicious flavor and aroma; polyphenols, which are antioxidants that provide the tea’s brisk flavor and many of its health benefits; phytonutrients, which are small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids including L-theanine (a very rare molecule that has been found in only three sources including camellia sinensis!) ; enzymes; and methylxanthines, which are a family of alkaloids that include caffeine. Each of these components work differently in the human body and a full description is best left to a medical journal. However, recent research exploring the potential health attributes of tea is leading many scientists to agree that tea, may contribute positively to a healthy lifestyle.
Some research comparing different types of tea has shown that the manufacturing process does affect the level of antioxidants present in the final tea leaf. According to a 2006 review of the beneficial effects of green tea in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, when comparing dry leaves, unoxidized green tea retains more antioxidants than black, oolong, or pu-erh. The catechin (or antioxidant) that displays the greatest increase in green tea when compared to the black, oolong and pu-erh is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). (Reference: "Beneficial Effects of Green Tea - A Review" Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol 25, No 2 (2006))
For a more in-depth discussion of Tea and Health Benefits check here.
For a more in-depth discussion of Tea and Caffeine check here.
Curiously, the story of Ceylon teas begins not with Camellia sinensis at all, but rather, with cinnamon. The island now known as Sri Lanka was historically referred to as “Ceylon” by the British colonial powers, until it gained independence in 1972 – hence, the name of Ceylon teas. The first Europeans to colonize the island were the Dutch, which controlled the island and its peoples from the middle of the seventeenth century until the very end of the nineteenth century, and during that time, they grew tremendous amounts of cinnamon.
Shortly after the British took control of Ceylon, the bottom fell out of the cinnamon market, forcing the colonial powers to invest in another cash crop: coffee. From about 1840 until 1870, there was a coffee ‘boom’ that drove prices through the roof and made it unbelievably profitable. Unfortunately, in the mid 1860’s, a coffee blight struck Ceylon, destroying thousands of plantations and once again pushing another crop into the spotlight: tea.
Tea was introduced to Sri Lanka around the same time as coffee – around 1824 – the key difference being that coffee was introduced as a cash crop, while the tea plant that arrived that year was merely added to the Royal Botanical Gardens. It was not until 1867 that a British man named James Taylor decided to plant a tea plantation at Loolecondera, an estate in the central highlands region of the island. In 1875, Taylor’s first shipment of tea arrived in London –a meager 23 pounds – but by 1890, his Loolecondera plantation was shipping 22,900 tons of tea back to England and tea had become Ceylon’s primary source of revenue.
For information on other traditions or to submit your own tea tradition visit our Tea Traditions section.